To the editor:

As campaign season draws to a close, I would like to thank everyone in the 41st District for engaging in the political process, for being so welcoming when my team and I have knocked on your doors and for your patience with all of the mailers delivered to your mailboxes lately which usually are not even generated by the candidates. Many of you have taken advantage of advanced voting options and that’s great. I urge everyone else to get to the polls on Nov. 6. Voting is our right and our duty so let your voice be heard.  

I also would like to thank Brandon Johannes and the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting the state representative candidate forum on Tuesday, Oct. 16. As it was to be the only forum of this election season, I am very disappointed to have missed it and had hoped that Brandon’s explanation that night might have satisfied those who eagerly would make negative comments as to my whereabouts. Unfortunately, that has not been the case so I will explain further.

I work shift work at a large company in Kansas City. When Brandon, Rett Rogers, Leavenworth County GOP chairman and I discussed in September a date for this forum, we informed Brandon that I would be at work on Oct. 16 and was unable to take time off. Rett requested that another night be considered as candidate Dave French was also unavailable that night. Brandon replied that a different night would not work for the other candidates and he decided to keep the forum on Oct. 16. The accusatory comments and questions as to why I was not there have been frustrating, especially since a simple statement issued by the Chamber regarding my absence could have cleared up the matter satisfactorily.

Speaking of forums, another person who deserves a big thank you is political science professor Dr. Ernest Evans who works diligently each election cycle to keep voters informed through candidate forums. He’d planned a forum between me and incumbent Jeff Pittman but received notice that Rep. Pittman preferred not to participate. Additionally, he planned a forum to discuss expansion of the County Commission from three to five members but was unable to find someone willing to represent the Give Me Five side. Dr. Evans is an asset to our community. I sincerely hope that his forums will once again come to fruition during the next campaign cycle.

And finally, I would like to thank all of the folks who have supported me and the Tony Barton campaign. My amazing wife, Arlene, and our children and grandchildren have stood solidly with me through the ups and downs of being a candidate. If you read a newspaper, peruse Facebook or watch TV, you know how low some folks can get. Those attacks take a toll on the family members of candidates. I truly appreciate how strong my wonderful family is. My sincere gratitude also goes to Team Tony, the best campaign team in the state of Kansas. Every member of the team has brought unique talents and energy to the group. I am eternally grateful for all of your hard work these past months. Whether you were putting up signs, dropping literature, doing research, making phone calls, stuffing envelopes or knocking on doors, you have given it your all. Thank you.  

And last but most certainly not least, a huge thank you to the many, many folks who have blessed me with your votes, your monetary donations, your prayers, your sign locations and your support. If we are blessed with a victory on Nov. 6, I pledge to be worthy of the faith you all have placed in me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Now let’s get out there and “Put Kansas Back on Track!”